TAG Heuer Aquagraph 500m Diver Swiss Automatic Chronograph CN211A 43mm Bracelet
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One of the highlights of the TAG Heuer’s range over the last 30 years has been the triumvirate of “hard-core’ diving watches: The Heuer/ TAG Heuer 1000m (Spirotechnique), the Heuer/ TAG Heuer Super Professional and the watch that is the subject of this week’s review: the TAG Heuer Aquagraph. Based on the TAG Heuer 2000, the Aquagraph is a true “tool watch” and one that already hold a special place with TAG Heuer collectors as a future classic.
This was one serious chronograph, the first able to be operated as a chronograph while under water, thanks to the unique rubber sealed chronograph pushers. The Aquagraph made its last appearance in the 2008 time-frame, but examples of these watches can still be found in the used market.
The Aquagraph, even in 2012, is still a very unique, functional and generally awesome tool watch and one that is truly designed and built for the task at hand, that is, deep diving. TAG Heuer made a point of having each Aquagraph individually tested to make certain it achieves its 500 meter rating, including testing the security of the screw in plates that seal the rubber covered chrono. pushers.
The Aquagraph came in only one flavor (yellow chrono. hands on a black dial) and this seems to have helped make it the iconic watch that it has become. This watch has many intriguing features and nothing that is frivolous or unnecessary. Let’s begin with the basics. The fully brushed stainless steel case measures 43.2mm without the signed screw-down crown; 46.6mm crown inclusive. Lug width is 22mm, thickness is an expectedly chunky 15.9mm due to the chrono. module and the 500 meter depth rating. The case back screws down and features a very cool and heavily embossed deep-sea scuba diver helmet logo in the center.
The screw down crown is one of the unique features of this watch. The crown itself is nicely knurled with deep ridges between the knurls for a secure grip. When viewed from the underside (case back side), one sees a colored gasket (either yellow or red/orange in color, as TAG Heuer used both colors for the gasket) between the crown and case side.
If the crown is unscrewed, the colored gasket becomes visible from the dial side, warning the wearer that the watch is not water-resistant because the crown is unscrewed. TAG Heuer refers to this feature as a ‘security indicator’. When the crown is properly screwed down, this gasket is only visible from the rear of the watch. A simple, elegant and nifty little addition to this watch and one that shows this piece means business.
Inside this watch is another surprise. TAG Heuer decided to use an automatic ETA 2892-2 base movement with a Dubois Depraz 2073 chronograph module stacked on top. This gives the watch a genuine jewel count of a heady 46 jewels! TAG christened this movement the ‘Calibre 60’.
What makes this movement combination really special is the Lemania 5100-like large center chronograph minutes hand, which sits underneath the chronograph’s large center seconds hand. This design makes it extremely easy to see how many minutes have elapsed on the chrono., doubly so because both these hands are painted a bright yellow and the minute hand has a large arrow tip replete with a generous amount of lume. Super cool! TAG Heuer mentions this as being important to a diver concerning the duration of decompression stages.
The automatic Calibre 60 winds smoothly, quietly and runs a fine 45 hours on a full wind. Accuracy in my testing procedure has yielded an average of +4 seconds over 24 hours, which is superb. Chronograph functions are crisp and accurate, with start, stop and reset procedures working perfectly. The rubber covers do not hinder the operation of the pushers in any way.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the Aquagraph are its rubber-covered chronograph pushers. They are rectangular, with the rubber covers held in place by steel plates secured with screws. This design allows the chronograph to be used while submerged in water, one of the only (if not the only) chronographs to be able to say this.
The dial on the Aquagraph is a slightly gloss black with inset sub-dials for the chronograph and watch functions. The sub-dial at 3 is the main watch seconds hand, nicely done in yellow with a small arrow tip, easy to see and confirm that the watch is running while under water.
The sub-dial at 6 is the 12-hour chronograph totalizer while the sub-dial at 9 is a 24-hour (am/pm) indicator. Not sure why they decided to put this 24-hour indicator complication on this watch, as there is no day or date function, but I guess it’s nice to have regardless.
As stated previously, the two large yellow center hands are the chronograph seconds and minutes counters. The main watch hands are simple in design, silver with inset lume. The hands are a bit stubby and wide, but not overly so. Round applied markers with lume complete the dial’s presentation. As with any serious dive watch, lume quality is strong, bright green and long lasting. There are even lume dots that encircle the bezel, with a lume pip at 12 on the bezel as well.
And speaking of the bezel, this is another unique point of this watch and a design that shows TAG Heuer was serious about serious diving. The bezel has six large ridges or bars on it to assist in turning it and that also add a bit of style. The bezel design is a unidirectional 60-click variety, but one that is locked and ratcheting, so as to prevent accidental movement of the bezel while diving. You have to push firmly straight down on the bezel and while still pushing down, turn it to the desired time, then release it, locking the bezel in place. Not real easy to do, but it does work and accomplishes the goal of having the bezel stay in the position it has been moved to. This bezel has been designed so even while wearing gloves the bezel is usable.
The crystal is anti-reflective sapphire and is suitably thick to accomplish the 500 meter water resistance rating. No distortion has been noticed with the crystal. And speaking of 500 meters of water, there is also an automatic helium escapement valve (HEV) in the center on the left hand side of the case.
The bracelet on the Aquagraph is pretty much a no-nonsense oyster-style solid link stainless steel affair with the links held in place by the dreaded pin and collar system, but at least you know the bracelet will retain its integrity while being worn. The bracelet is 22mm at the lugs and tapers to about 19mm at the clasp. Solid end links and a signed, push-button locking clasp with machined deployment complete the set up. The push-button design of the clasp against the deployant is such that the clasp actually locks in place around the deployant instead of just fitting in by friction, so again, you can be assured the watch will stay on your wrist. TAG Heuer also outfitted the Aquagraph with a machined diver’s extension that folds out and locks in place, which is a nice touch
The Aquagraph is not a poseur. This is a serious dive watch that can and will hold up to a lot of punishment and true diving expeditions. Factor in its unique features, precise and unique Swiss movement and attractive, functional good looks and you have a winner, no question about it. It’s too bad the Aquagraph didn’t have a longer production run, where Tag could have refined the design, introduced new colors or added new features. But again, the fact that there was only one style of Aquagraph has added to its allure in the years since it has been discontinued.
- Brand/Model: TAG Heuer 2000 Aquagraph
- Reference: CN211A
- Movement: Swiss automatic w/ Swiss chronograph module
- Material: stainless steel case and bracelet; rubber dive strap included with accessory dive kit
- Complications: chronograph timing in one-second increments up to 12 hours; 24-hour indicator sub-dial
- Price: approx. $3500 USD (at time of sale; watch now discontinued)
Very nice TAG Heuer Aquagraph 500m Diver – Ref CN211A Swiss Automatic! Discontinued & Very Rare – In Outstandiung overall condition with the only blemish being that part of the rubber has worn away from the chrono pushers…Complete with TAG Heuer Box Set!
BRAND: TAG Heuer
MODEL: Aquagraph – Ref CN211A
MOVEMENT: Automatic – Swiss Calibre 60
CASE: Stainless Steel
CROWN: Screw Down Crown
DIAL: Black DIAL with Yellow Accents
BEZEL: Rotating Divers Bezel
CONDITION: pre owned – Excellent!
BOXES/PAPERS: TAG Heuer Box with Watch – Everything in pictures
WATER RESISTANCE: – 500mm
STRAP/BRACELET: – Original TAG Heuer Stainless Steel Bracelet with signed Stainless Steel Deployment buckle
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